01 March 2010

Lesson #10: Listen to the Spidey-Sense.

There's another Richard Bach quote that I like, though I'm sure other people have said the same thing.  He says, "Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness.  Listen to it carefully.

When I think back to the times in my life when I was at critical moments or decision points, I see that at least part of that struggle was internal: there was a small voice in my head going 'well, you need to do ____', whereas the rest of me was hell-bent on doing something else.  Some people might call that small voice a conscience.  It might be 'intuition'.  Others might call it guilt, or the early stages of schizophrenia.  Either way, one thing I'm starting to figure out is that I need to stop ignoring it.

For the sake of this discussion, and hopefully not in terms that will constitute major copy-right infringement, let's just call it what it really is: Spidey-Sense.

I do believe that our bodies, and our subconscious, do know what's good for us.  Or at least, we know at the physical and subconscious level when we're putting ourselves in harm's way.  It's like the hair might raise on a dog, or a cat, when they're upset or afraid.  There's a sinking feeling, or a tension, in the pit of the stomach.  There's a sense that things aren't right.  Hours are spent staring up at the ceiling, or emotions tangle into a wreck, or there's an immediate jump toward defensiveness or irritability.  This often occurs in cases of Want versus Need (see Lesson 7 ), or situations where we've reasoned our way around a violation of our ethics, or even real, physical danger.

It's important to listen. 

I need to ask myself why my Spidey-Sense has activated.  Does it reflect some bias or prejudice I didn't know I was carrying?  Is it an honest assessment of the situation?  Is it pointing out something I don't want to see?  Does it reflect insecurity?

I need to ask myself why I'm not following it.  Because it's easier to just do what I want?  Am I being dishonest with myself?  Am I, through my actions or choices, about to violate my own values or integrity?

Life isn't always clearcut.  There aren't always bad guys wreaking havoc on the city or threatening Mary Jane.  I certainly can't shoot webbing out of my hands or climb buildings.  I know.  This makes me sad.

Sometimes intuition, conscience, spidey-sense, whatever it is, will make an appearance.  It might come in different forms: the little voice in my head/the Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder; a train of thought that goes somewhere I didn't intend; the passing remark from someone who's come into my life.  I won't always listen.  That's the nature of free will (or will in general): it allows us to be stubborn, and make mistakes.  But if I pay attention to it, and am honest in why I choose to follow or ignore it, I can at least minimize the 'Man, I should  have known!' feeling that often follows bad decisions.  And I can know that a good decision really was just that.

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